7 years ago, I spent this day celebrating my best friends 21st birthday. A bunch of us gathered around a table in the corner of a restaurant for some food, drinks and laughter. It was not only a celebration of a beautiful woman’s birth, but also a celebration of the brave battle she had fought against cancer.
Those 3 years had held a lot of ups and downs for her. She had endured countless hours in a hospital room hooked up to an IV while her body was pumped full of poison that would hopefully save her life. Her beautiful brown hair had fallen out in clumps on her pillow and in her shower while she cried tears of fear, sadness and change. She had waited through body scans and blood tests, anti-nausea meds and so much more. But more than that, she had finally found the man of her dreams, she had risen above the pain and continued to dance, she had inspired so many, and she had survived. We had no idea her fight was only just beginning.
Looking back now, had I known that was the last birthday I would celebrate with my friend, I would have stayed all night long. I would have toasted to the memories and made more. I would have held on a little tighter, savored the every moment. She had come through so much and was so strong, I never thought CANCER could take her from us only 5 months later.
Today I look back, 7 years later. She would have been celebrating 28. To this day I still find myself picking up the phone to call her, I look at my babies and wonder what hers would look like and if they would play together as we did so many times at their age. I think of her when the wind blows and when I see butterflies. Because of her, I still smile when I hear a Blink 182 song or see Elton Brown on the food network. I wish she could meet my husband and had been there to stand next to me at my wedding, and when I welcomed my babies into the world. Everyday she is my inspiration. The pain of her absence is as strong as it was the day she took her last breath. So many things we would have shared together, so many more memories to make.
Cancer may have taken her life, but it could never take her spirit. It never took her smile or the spark in her eyes. It never came close to her courage, her laughter or her ability to make others laugh. It took her from my life, but never from my heart. Love you Lace! Dance strong! MIZPAH!